By Lynn Barber, Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ agent, UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, firstname.lastname@example.org
March is ready, set…garden month in Hillsborough County. We’re past the last chance of frost, and we can put plans and plants into place as we recycle and redesign our landscape beds.
It’s a good time to shape and reduce the size of landscape plants. Don’t prune Gardenias and Azaleas until after they have bloomed. For ornamental grasses, cut the stems to 4-12 inches above the ground, depending on the size of the clump.
Recycle your landscape clippings in your compost bin. If you’re raking oak leaves, compost or use them as mulch in a landscape bed. To learn about the do’s and don’ts of composting, sign-up for a composting workshop offered once a month, currently viz ZOOM, with us, the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, from February through November. Check our calendar of events at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/.
It’s a great time to apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch to your landscape beds. Move mulch away from the stems of your plants. It’s a great landscape addition because it adds nutrients to the soil when it decomposes, retains soil moisture, regulates soil temperature and suppresses weed growth.
Check the Central Florida Gardening Calendar, https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep450, for what to plant and activities to do month by month. View the Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vh021, for veggie planting info, soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, pest management approaches and more.
We will be planting beans, southern peas, peppers and tomatoes in March. If you like to grow your own herbs and spices, consider basil, lemon balm, mint, oregano and rosemary. Bulbs provide color, form and texture. Some beauties are Amazon lily, crinum and agapanthus.
Let’s get outside and get our hands dirty. Be sure to take time for a nice glass of iced tea and a good book (gardening, of course) on your front porch, lanai or in your garden. Enjoy! Life’s too short not to garden.
For assistance with horticultural questions, call: 813-744-5519. More gardening information is available at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/. Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repeat. Hope to see you at a workshop soon!